Roura urges Barca to be wary of Milan away goal
MADRID (AFP) -
Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura has said his side will have to balance attacking intent with caution if they are to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals against AC Milan on Tuesday night.
The Catalans were again not in sparkling form as they dispatched bottom-placed Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 on Saturday night to extend their lead at the top of the table to 14 points.
However, with a 2-0 deficit from the first-leg in Italy to overcome, Roura is wary of conceding an away goal.
“There is no doubt on Tuesday we have to attack because we have to score goals,” he told reporters.
“But we also can’t get over-excited. We have to balance our need to go forward with being careful at the back.
“We know how Milan are going to play and how we are going to play. All the players are very concentrated and we know how important a game this is.”
With Milan in mind Barca made seven changes to the side that had started the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid last weekend with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique among those who started on the bench.
However, they were still dominant in the first-half and after a number of fine saves from Daniel Aranzubia had frustrated the hosts, Alexis Sanchez headed them into a deserved lead seven minutes before the break.
After half-time though Barca were far from fluent and Roura had to introduce Messi and Iniesta in a bid to kill the game off which Messi duly did with two minutes remaining with a lovely dinked finish to register his 40th league goal of the season.
The biggest bonus for Barca ahead of Tuesday was the fact that they kept a clean sheet for the first time in 14 games and whilst acknowledging they will face a much stiffer test in midweek, Roura was delighted to finally end their streak of conceding goals.
“Every competition is different, but the best way to prepare for that game has been to play well and certainly to not concede.”
One of those who didn’t shine, though, was Cesc Fabregas as he was booed by sections of the home support when being replaced by Sergio Busquets in the second-half after another disappointing performance.
However, Roura insisted that he has no doubts in the former Arsenal captain’s capabilities, even if he is currently not in his best form.
“The fans are allowed to say what they want and every player will have his good and bad moments in the season, but we are delighted with Cesc and he is a player with undoubted quality.”
Deportivo manager Fernando Vazquez meanwhile lamented his side’s inability to create anything of note given Barca’s defensive problems of late.
“We didn’t create enough opportunities. Barcelona defended well, pressured well and we couldn’t get out,” he said.
“There is a big difference between Barca and ourselves in the league and we knew we would have a lot of problems.
“But we managed to keep it at 1-0 for a long time and the disappointment is that we didn’t create that chance to have taken a point.”